"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Autumn at the Gardens

I went along to Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens for my October visit this afternoon but we only had time to walk around the formal walled garden today. Lots of autumn colour in the leaves and there are still a few flowers about.

I saw a few more birds there today - blackbird, magpie, wood pigeon, robin, blue tit, sparrowhawk and fleeting glimpses of a flock of redwings.

The light was poor today but here are some of the photos I took.

This pretty plant is Salvia horminium. Its been in "flower" at the Gardens for months now and I really must plant some of this annual in our garden next year.

St Mary and St Margaret's Church

I visited part of the gardens today (near to the hall) where I haven't been before. You can only gain entry to this part if you go on a guided tour so a kind volunteer gave us a tour just of this part of the Gardens.

Parterre in the North Garden with Castle Bromwich Hall in the background

Ornamental Gate (restored by the Trust) once used by residents of the Hall to reach the Church

I've put my moth trap out tonight but things are not looking promising - I checked a few minutes ago and there were no moths in the trap (again) and its also started to rain. I suspect it won't take long to empty in the morning!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

An empty moth trap

I put my skinner moth trap out last Thursday evening and it didn't take long to empty the following morning as there were no moths at all! The temperature ranged from 9.7 - 5.8 degrees centigrade so there hadn't been frost and it wasn't that cold. I'll carry on trapping for another couple of weeks and then put the trap away for the winter.

Garden Update

Nearly all the pyracantha and whitebeam berries have now been eaten by wood pigeons and blackbirds. Last week's submission to the BTO Garden Birdwatch:
2 x Carrion Crow
2 x Blackbird
2 x Goldfinch
3 x Feral Pigeon
2 x Dunnock
6 x House Sparrow
2 x Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 x Robin
1 x Wood Pigeon
1 x Coal Tit
1 x Great Tit
1 x Long-tailed Tit
3 x Blue Tit
1 x Wren
1 x Sparrowhawk
1 x Greenfinch
1 x Magpie

is fairly typical of birds visiting the garden at the moment. It would be nice to see something different even a collared dove (where have they disappeared to?) or thrush. No signs of any butterflies - the last sighting was a small white on 21st September! Where are those red admirals that usually visit the michaelmas daisies at this time of the year?


Great news - the waxwings have returned - I know of 2 separate sightings in Warwickshire over the last couple of days. I shall be checking out every berry bearing bush from now on and will be visiting a nearby business park quite regularly which has loads of trees and shrubs with berries in the hope of finding my very own waxwings.

A few photos to finish with. I want to check I have solved the text and image problem I have been having. I haven't got any recent photos of the garden so I have picked these as a reminder of summer. They were actually taken by my son on the Fuji Finepix and I am very jealous as they are a darn sight better than the butterfly photos I took this year with my new olympus! They are uncropped as well!

Common Blue at Hidcote

Painted Lady at Baddesley Clinton

Meadow Brown


Monday, 25 October 2010

Castlerigg Stone Circle and Watendlath

Day 4 Wednesday, 20th October

Our last day in the Lake District and the weather was beautiful - cold and frosty with clear blue skies and sunshine.

We drove northwards towards Keswick to visit Castlerigg Stone Circle. The circle was built around 3200 BC in Neolithic times and was used for ceremonies. Today it consists of 38 stones of different sizes and shapes, some of which are now lying on the ground. It is believed that originally there may have been 41 stones. It was very atmospheric there with superb views and ravens "kronking" overhead.

Near Keswick we saw our one and only red squirrel of the trip which sadly was lying dead in the road. 15 - 30 years ago we regularly had red squirrel sightings on every holiday but in more recent years we have only seen one every 3 or 4 visits.

Before driving home we made a brief visit to Watendlath.

Not sure how the layout of this posting will work out but I am keeping my fingers crossed I won't have problems with text appearing at the side of the images instead of above or below!!!

Photos taken from the ferry crossing Windermere (first 2 taken by my son)

The next few photos were taken from a moving car as we travelled from Grasmere to Keswick. They are not very good but I was surprised that they came out at all although I did set a high speed on the camera. The lake in a few of the pictures is Thirlmere.

Castlerigg Stone Circle - first photo taken by my son

Traditional packhorse bridge at Watendlath (the lake in the distance in the middle photo is Derwentwater)

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Loughrigg Fell, Brathay (again) and Hawkshead

Day 3 - Tuesday, 19th October

The weather was better today - it was cold but there were far more sunny intervals and just a few heavy rain showers (both of which occurred when we were walking along a fell with nowhere to shelter!).

I'm still not sure what happened to cause the strange layout of yesterday's blog posting but I will try and type less between photos today in the hope that the problem won't recur!

We drove to Ambleside this morning and parked by the River Rothay and walked up the fellside of Miller Brow/Loughrigg Brow and along Loughrigg Fell which reaching a height of around 1000 feet is one of the lower fells.

The photos below show a view at the beginning of the walk, a bridge over the River Rothay and then various views as we made the ascent and then as we walked along Loughrigg Fell. In the last but one photo you can see in the distance the fast approaching rain which arrived about 10 minutes later and in the last picture (if you click on it to enlarge) you might just be able to make out a rainbow in the centre.

There was a lot of RAF jet activity in the area today and you could hear them screeching along Windermere only to suddenly appear at a terrifyingly low height as they shot over the fellside.

We stopped off at Brathay so I could take some more photos in the vastly improved weather. Saw another dipper here - in fact a few years back a pair were nesting under Brathay Bridge and we watched them taking food into the nest.

We stopped off at Hawkshead on the way back to the Hotel. Hawkshead is a really picturesque village with whitewashed houses, archways, cobbled streets and courtyards. You can visit the Grammar School that William Wordsworth attended and there is a gallery exhibiting original Beatrix Potter illustrations from the books. I'm a bit miffed that I didn't get time to visit the church as it holds a sixteenth century altar tomb and illustrated psalms and quotations painted on the walls in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

EEK!!! - oh no, I have just checked the preview and the same problem has occurred with text appearing at the side of the photos instead of above or below. I haven't a clue what I am doing wrong as I am still using the "old editor" and, as far as I know, I haven't changed any settings.